by Pam Zubeck
UPDATE: To be clear, the Colorado Springs Together organization isn't being put to bed. Rather, the recovery center is closing. CRT will continue to operate, and the best way for people to stay connected is to visit the website at coloradospringstogether.org, says CRT member John Henry.
Also, Henry emphasized that advocates for the organization began meetings within days of the homes burning in Mountain Shadows, although their work might not have taken a high profile until later. The recovery center opened in August, and the group obtained its non-profit IRS status after that, although the application was submitted July 3.
——————————-ORIGINAL POST WEDNESDAY, JULY 17, 12:45 P.M.————————————-
The recovery organization formed after the Waldo Canyon Fire destroyed nearly 350 homes in Mountain Shadows closes Thursday, according to a news release.
Called Colorado Springs Together, the nonprofit was formed by Bob Cutter, a local businessman asked by Mayor Steve Bach to head up the recovery effort.
CRT opened in a former Blockbuster Video building, for which it paid $6,000 a month rent, about two months after the June 26 conflagration struck the city. So a reference in the news release to the organization forming "immediately" after the fire isn't exactly true, though Cutter did scramble to get donations and launched an effort to obtain nonprofit status from the IRS within weeks. That nonprofit designation came sometime after August.
Since the center opened, it's become a hub for citizens, hosting events ranging from sand-bag give-aways to barbecues, as well as providing a place for insurance companies and homeowner associations to meet with residents.
Here's the release:
Colorado Springs Together, the citizen-led nonprofit organization coordinating the rebuilding and recovery of Mountain Shadows the neighborhood affected by the Waldo Canyon Fire, announces the closing of its community center which was opened shortly after the fire in 2012. The center, located in Mountain Shadows at 6840 Centennial Boulevard, Suite A, will close Thursday afternoon.
Recovery after the Waldo Canyon Fire is moving quickly, with 91 homes now rebuilt, and another 119 in various stages of construction. More than 60 percent of the 347 homes lost to the fire are either rebuilt or under construction.
“The hundreds of Mountain Shadows residents who used the Colorado Springs Together Center for meetings, consultation with our volunteers about insurance, debris removal or rebuilding, and for reconnecting with neighbors during the earliest months of the recovery from the Waldo Canyon Fire know well the value that this asset brought,” said Bob Cutter, president and founder of Colorado Springs Together.
Colorado Springs Together’s leadership made the decision to close the center based on declining use, which reflects the continued fast pace of rebuilding. Colorado Springs Together will continue its work to support the recovery and neighborhood enhancement in Mountain Shadows until the end of 2013.
According to recent figures released by the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, an insurance industry-supported consumer education and outreach organization, the Waldo Canyon Fire continues to be the most costly fire in Colorado history, with $453.7 million of insured loss from approximately 6,648 claims.
Colorado Springs Together was founded immediately after the Waldo Canyon Fire to serve as the primary community organization to bring the community spirit and substantial resources of the businesses, nonprofit organizations, government entities and citizens of the Pikes Peak Region to restore the lives, homes and neighborhoods impacted by the Waldo Canyon Fire. Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach provided the initial impetus for the founding of Colorado Springs Together.